Legal Sports Betting in Canada: Gambling Laws in 2024

If you’re someone who enjoys sports betting and looking for betting sites, there is a lot to know about the legal situation of gambling in your area. It can be confusing at times, trying to discern what is legal and what is illegal betting.

To help with this circumstance, we’ve created a comprehensive breakdown of the online gambling laws in Canada.

Top Legal Betting Sites in Canada

Legal Sports Betting in Canada

Sports betting online is a great way to make some money and add to your enjoyment of a sporting event, but knowing all the relevant legal information is critical if you want to stay out of trouble and avoid using dodgy operators. That is what this exploration of Canadian gambling laws will do.

This guide will provide you with the key information that will help you understand what you can and can’t do in Canada. We’ll be looking at the different regions and the different overall gambling laws in Canada. We’ll be covering several different gambling-based topics, such as the legal betting sites in Canada and the types of bets you can and can’t make.
Ready? Let’s get into it.

Important Laws to Know for Online Sports Betting in Canada

Understanding the different sports betting laws Canada isn’t simple, but the one law that is right now changing the betting industry is the passing of C-218. C-218 addresses the question of is single-game betting legal in Canada? The answer now is a yes.

C-218 is the legalization of single-game betting in Canada, which blows the industry wide open. It was passed in the summer of 2021, so it is a recent change. C-218 was an amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code that decriminalized betting on an individual sporting event.

Before this bill had passed, the only type of federally legal betting was on parlays done through government sources. The law hasn’t yet come into force, and it will be rolled out provincially. Ontario has announced it will be a big part of the province’s focus on iGaming, so legal online betting provided by the government is on the way.

Another law that is important to note is the legal gambling age. It differs based on what province you are in, but in general, the legal betting age in Canada is 18 or 19, with no province or territory having a legal gambling age that isn’t one of the two.

The passing of C-218 is a major step for legal sports betting in Canada. It is a recent bill, so predicting the changes we will see is difficult. However, many of these changes have already begun. Canadians are now seeing sports betting from places licensed by the province they reside in become a reality. Ontario is the first province to launch their version of these new laws, but others, like British Columbia and Alberta are soon to follow. The provinces now control their own gambling futures, and many are taking the actions you might expect: licensing operators to receive a share of the gambling income..

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Illegal Sports Betting in Canada

Illegal betting in Canada is not something that is strictly regulated or enforced, although there are definitely rules. It is widely known that illegal betting is very low on the priority list for Canadian law enforcement agencies, and with the passing of C-218, it is likely to vanish off the law enforcement radar entirely.

Law enforcement has conducted some operations in recent years to prevent illegal gambling, but this was more to stop illegal gambling rings conducted by criminal organizations. There have never been arrests in Canada, and there never will be, for using operators like Betway in a responsible way.

There are no formally blacklisted operators that we are aware of, although some sportsbooks have reputations so bad that they may as well be blacklisted. This is due to their reputation as failing to make payouts to sports bettors and being dodgy with money. Some sportsbooks with this reputation are TopBet and Superbook.

Staying safe means being cautious and checking the legality and reputation of every sportsbook you use. However, if you are concerned about law enforcement for casual betting on a well-known sportsbook, don’t be. It is completely safe and legal.

The State of Sports Betting in Canada

Sports betting is wildly popular in Canada and has been for years, despite all the legal gray areas. According to some analysts, the Canadian betting market is currently valued at $11 billion, with projections stating that it will double within five years. There is a massive demand for sports betting in this country. That is a big reason why the government has barely enforced the regulations they had and a big reason that it is becoming legal.

With a sports-loving population that prioritizes hockey, baseball, basketball, football, and soccer, federally making online sports betting legal in Canada could bring a massive amount of money into the economy.

One group in Canada that is already profiting from gambling is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing a variety of online sportsbooks and casinos, including Sports Interaction. Because they are owned by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and operate on Mohawk land, they are not subject to the same rules as other parts of the country. They have been the leading players in the Canadian gambling industry since 1996.

iGaming Ontario is the new regulatory body that is working alongside the Government of Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to help bring legal gambling to the province. This is the first province that will be doing this, and many will be watching what happens to see how to model their own release of legal gaming. iGaming will help oversee the entirety of the online betting industry, ensuring that consumers are protected and providing operators with a path towards legality. They are a key part of the future of online betting in Canada, especially considering almost half of Canada’s population resides in Ontario.

The Canadian gambling industry is a big one, and it is only getting bigger. There are many different major players that define it, and with further legalization, more will enter the scene. Let’s look at some of the differences between provinces with gambling rules and regulations.

Gambling Rules in the Provinces

Ontario sports bettingOntario: Sports betting in Ontario is arguably the easiest of any providence. It is 100% legal; you just have to be 19 years or over and have a valid email address, phone number, and home address. Ontario also has several casinos, although you can’t place sports bets with them. There are also horse races in Ontario.

Alberta bettingAlberta: No in-person sports betting institutions are allowed, except for some live horse betting. The legal betting age for Alberta sports betting is 18 when you can enter casinos and place bets online with certain operators. Not all sportsbooks are accessible in Alberta, but many Canadian-facing operators are.

Quebec sports bettingQuebec: Quebec is most likely the center of the Canadian gambling industry. For one, it is where the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is, and they have the best provincial lottery. They are a lot more receptive to gambling than most states. The legal age for sports betting in Quebec is 18, and residents of Quebec have access to thousands of different sportsbook options.

Nova Scotia sports bettingNova Scotia: While provincial gambling options such as the lottery are not available online, Nova Scotia residents can still access all the online sportsbooks other residents can. You must be 19 in order to enter a casino or bet on the sportsbooks in Nova Scotia

New Brunswick sports bettingNew Brunswick: New Brunswick has a bevy of sports betting options to choose from, the same as every other province. However, if you want to bet in this province, you’re going to need to be 19 years old. Residents of New Brunswick receive better odds on online sportsbooks than provincial parlays, and it is fully legal to sign up for New Brunswick sports betting.

Manitoba bettingManitoba: There aren’t many differentiations between Manitoba’s betting laws and other provinces. The one major difference in Manitoba sports betting is that the province allows 18-year-olds to gamble. Manitobans have access to all the sportsbooks as every other province, as well as a provincial lottery.

British Columbia sports bettingBritish Columbia: Sports betting is legal throughout British Columbia for ages 19 and up. The BCLC sports betting service is one option for bettors, although for many, online sportsbooks are much more preferred. British Columbians can access the entirety of the sportsbook options that are available within Canada, so sports betting in British Columbia has taken off.

Prince Edward Island sports bettingPrince Edward Island: Prince Edward Island also provides provincial betting options for their resident, but at a much smaller scale and with much worse chances of winning. That is why most P.E.I residents 19 and older turn to using the sportsbooks in Prince Edward Island, which they all have access to.

Saskatchewan sports bettingSaskatchewan: Saskatchewan is obligated to sports bet with the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, with the Pro-line parlays that gives bettors a very low chance of seeing any return. However, sportsbooks online democratize this monopoly and are legal to use for residents 19 and older. With better odds and more options, it’s what we’d recommend for Saskatchewan sports betting.

Newfoundland and Labrador sports bettingNewfoundland and Labrador: Like the other provinces on this list, there isn’t much variation in the laws in Newfoundland and Labrador. They offer Proline betting for residents 19 and older, but that is their only form of provincially regulated sports betting. Online sportsbooks are available for sports betting in Newfoundland and Labrador to diversify bettors’ options.
Northwest Territories sports bettingNorthwest Territories: The Northwest Territories may not be a populous province, but there are many avid sports fans in this territory. They rely on the Western Canada Lottery Corporation for their lottery games and betting. But there are other sportsbooks in the Northwest Territories, including online operators that serve the country.
Nunavut sports bettingNunavut: While Nunvavut may not have as many sports bettors as most other provinces, this community loves their sporting events. Nunavut also uses the WCLC for their lottery games and online betting, as the WCLC offers the Sport Select betting service. For those who prefer other forms of Nunavut sports betting, there are many alternative online betting sites available.
Yukon sports bettingYukon: Yukon is another northern territory that may be remote, but has plenty of sports betting enthusiasts. Yukon is also serviced by the WCLC and the Sport Select app, which is a great way to get in on the action. However, if you are looking for alternative forms of sports betting in Yukon, you can use offshore betting sites or Canadian licensed operators to get that same premier gambling experience.

Legal Canadian Online Sports Betting Sites: What to Look For

You have a variety of options when it comes to legal betting operators in Canada. There aren’t many sportsbooks that don’t accommodate Canadian bettors, so you will have many to choose from. There are many different big names in the industry that make for great choices, but at the end of the day, it will be up to you. Here are some of the things to look for when using a legal online sportsbook.

  • Bet Types: This is the type of markets and sports covered that the operator has available. Every operator will have different types of bets that gamblers can engage with.
  • Bonuses and Promotions: Bonuses and promotions are made to entice bettors to engage with different parts of the operator’s offerings. Bonuses can include welcome packages, free bets on certain games, or any other number of things, depending on the sportsbook’s creativity.
  • User Interface: The user interface is how the website looks and how intuitive it is. Every sportsbook looks different, with some being extremely basic and some being complex. Find the one that looks the best to you.
  • Mobile apps: Several operators offer mobile betting apps that can be downloaded for smartphones. Not every sportsbook will have these available, so some have mobile-optimized websites.
  • Banking Options: Each operator will accept different forms of payment methods for their withdrawals and deposits. Some allow for crypto or different e-wallets, while others only have standard options available.
  • Trustworthiness: Just because an operator is available to be used doesn’t mean it is fully trustworthy. Many customers struggle with certain operators, so ensuring you are using one you can rely on is a must.
  • Customer Support: If you ever run into issues, it is important the sportsbook you are utilizing has a customer support team to help out. Each one has different options available, from email to phone lines.
  • Currencies and Languages: Canada is a bilingual country, so having the option to switch languages is important. Not every operator provides that. As well, it is crucial the sportsbook you use accepts Canadian Dollars, or you might end up spending much more than intended.
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How We Select Sites to Recommend

At BettingTop10, we select the best Canadian betting sites to recommend to our users by undergoing an extensive review process. We research every aspect of the sportsbook and try it out first hand. We draft in-depth reviews that are based on our own experience with the sportsbook and decide whether it is worth recommending to our audience.

Of course, we only ever review and recommend fully licensed and legal sportsbooks with high-quality reputations. We would never recommend an operator to our clients that aren’t safe to use and has dodgy business practices. We test payouts and other important features beforehand to ensure they are safe and effective.

Our goal is to provide honest and informative feedback to our clients that puts them in the best position possible to safely and effectively utilize these sportsbooks. We are on the side of the gambler.

For more information see our full list of Sportsbook Reviews and  New Betting Sites.

Legal Betting Sites - Final Verdict

Understanding all the intricacies and legal jargon surrounding sports betting in Canada is not necessary. Bettors are rightfully concerned over what makes sports betting in Canada legal or illegal and if it is okay to use the variety of operators that gear their services towards Canadians. Long story short, it is!

There is nothing to be concerned about when using the biggest operators in Canada, regardless of your province. The only thing worth making sure of is that you are the legal age. Of course, responsible gaming practices are still important regardless of legality.

This means always independently verifying whether the operator you are using can be trusted or not, don’t gamble more than you are willing to lose, and never chasing your losses.

With big changes on the horizon for Canadian bettors, many are looking at the legality of what they are doing. Not to worry, Canadians. Sports betting has been legal in some capacity for a while and is soon to be legal in many more capacities once C-218 is enacted. There is no concern for punishment for using a sportsbook.

Ontario is the first major provincial domino to fall, but it certainly won’t be the last. Canadian bettors can expect to see massive changes on the horizon with regards to betting. It is highly likely that within a years time, the industry will have changed dramatically. Operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, and MGM are poised to come to the Canadian market, and with that, will come a whole array of new options, exciting bonuses, and great features. Gambling in Canada is about to enter its hey-day, and we here at BettingTop10 can’t wait, and look forward to keeping you informed every step of the way.

We hope you have learned a lot about the legality of sports betting in Canada, the major players involved, and what to look for in a legal betting operator. Now that you know betting online with major operators is legal and safe, go find the right one for you to begin your gambling journey.

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Cameron is a 2020 graduate from the University of Southern California’s Journalism program. He is an avid sports fan and bettor, whose favourite teams include the Toronto Raptors, and the Chicago Bears. Cameron has been writing about and following sports since the age of 10, when he first fell in love with the NFL and NBA.